Dear representatives of missio Aachen, dear organizers and cooperation partners,
the Abrahamic Forum congratulates you warmly on your pastoral-social work all over the world. From your Christian image of man and your self-conception you make us aware of the importance of our responsible actions. The Abrahamic Forum also feels committed to this service to others.
Your commitment to interreligious, non-violent dialogue in Nigeria is exemplary. The Abrahamic Forum also makes dialogue its central theme. The German-Egyptian writer Hamed Abdel-Samad put this convincingly into words: "There are no strangers, only people with whom we have not yet conversed."
For 20 years, the Abrahamic Forum has focused on face-to-face encounters. Exchange, dispute, contradiction and compromise are central moments. Meeting with Abrahamic teams in the classroom is a special way to create dialogue: Students and teachers get to know guests from different religious communities in a protected space. This does not remain a non-binding conversation about the common heritage of Abraham. In interreligious dialogue, constructive coexistence in our democracy is at the top of the agenda. Honesty, courage and criticism in the encounter are just as much a part of it as the willingness to listen to each other with interest. Especially the engagement with 1700 years of Jewish culture in Germany makes the dialogue with Judaism multifaceted and lively. In this way, we hope to make a contribution to overcoming polarization and alienation.
A task that you have been performing for over 180 years.
I wish everyone an exciting exchange!
Stephanie Krauch, Speaker Abrahamic Forum in Germany e.V.
Interreligious dialogue is currently theologically and socially more important than ever! It is indispensable in view of the enormous challenges in the areas of the environment, the integrity of creation, a more just distribution of economic goods, and in the work of peace and reconciliation. To use the words of Nostra aetate, the Catholic Church has the "task of promoting unity and love among men and thus also among peoples, [therefore] it envisages above all that which is common to men and leads them to communion among themselves" (NA 1). Therefore, Catholics should "with wisdom and love, through conversation and cooperation with the confessors of other religions, and through witness to the Christian faith and life, recognize, preserve and promote those spiritual and moral goods and also the socio-cultural values which are found among them" (NA 2).
The church's mission of dialogue seeks God's saving work in this world and is thus done out of genuine theological conviction. But also socially, interreligious dialogue is indispensable for peaceful coexistence, as this became impressively clear during Pope Francis' apostolic journey to Iraq this year: Only together and reconciled is a peaceful future possible. For the social and theological tasks of our day, among which interreligious dialogue is a central topic, we need people who are capable of pluralism, who are firmly grounded in their own faith, and who are capable of speaking. In this sense, we wish you an enriching conference that sensitizes you to the challenges and encourages you to approach one another!
Dr. Timo Güzelmansur Managing Director CIBEDO e.V.
Since 2000, Christians and Muslims from various social contexts have come together several times a year in the "Christians and Muslims" discussion group at the ZdK to exchange views on pressing issues in living together. The participants are committed to the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council, which initiated a deepening of relations between Christianity and Islam. In our multi-religious society, the discussion group aims to open a space for dialogue and shared reflection. The open discourse among the participants becomes comprehensible in statements and declarations that take a stand on concrete socio-political fields or questions of everyday coexistence.
In addition to providing impulses for encounters between Christians and Muslims, the members are involved in designing the interreligious program at Catholic Days and ecumenical church congresses. In 2015, they issued a joint declaration against religiously motivated violence. Most recently, the contributors have dealt intensively with Islamophobic tendencies in our society. The declaration "No to hate and incitement - Christians and Muslims together against Islamophobia" classifies prejudices, debunks them and shows ways to solidarity and understanding. Since the creation of the discussion group, Gabriele Erpenbeck has been chairwoman of the committee, whose members are appointed by the presidium of the ZdK. The discussion group "Christians and Muslims" is in regular exchange with the discussion group "Jews and Christians" at the ZdK, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Gabriele Erpenbeck (Chair) and Katrin Großmann (Executive Director) Dialogue Group "Christians and Muslims" ZdK
At the latest since the so-called Future Charter of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of 2014 and finally with the text of 2015 "The role of religion in German development policy", one can speak of a "religious turn" in development cooperation. Whereas before religion in the context of development cooperation was often connoted with backwardness and resistance to "development," now religion is becoming a resource. The 2015 text states: "Religion can build bridges and motivate people to stand up for others and the environment. We have neglected this potential for far too long."
katho knows and uses religion as a resource in its many international partnerships. Our experience is that religious institutions are usually well organized and their employees are highly motivated. Nevertheless, we also experience that partnerships are not spared from the conflict of religions. But also in the fields of social and health care religion becomes virulent as a significant factor and "religious sensitivity" is in demand. We are increasingly adapting to this in our courses of study, right up to the master's course in "Intercultural Dialogue Competence".
For religions to be a resource for the development partnership as well as for our society, two critical discourses are needed: the human rights discourse and the interreligious dialogue.
In this spirit, I send my warmest greetings to the participants and my sincere thanks to the organizers.
Prof. Dr. Hans Hobelsberger, Rector of the Catholic University
Panel discussion at the opening of the 2021 Dialogue Conference on the topic: „Would the world be less conflictual without religion?” (in german)
At the 2021 Dialogue Conference, various speakers will take a stand on the topic: „Would the world be less conflict-ridden without religion?” (in german)
Fr. Prem Anthony IMS, Varanasi, India